Lee Grady penned a no-nonsense article last week cleverly titled “10 Stupid Things Ministers Should Never Do.” The ministry of Dr. Mary Ann Brown left an impression on Lee, and in his article he recalled some of her sage advice, which was: “Lee, please don’t ever get stupid.”
I was talking to evangelist Steve Hill of Brownsville Revival on Friday evening and our conversation reminded me of Lee’s article. Steve told me he’s sadly watching pastors fall into a lukewarm theology. The next day Steve had a prophetic vision about an avalanche that could kill thousands that we shared with our readers.
There are indeed many dangers for last-day ministers. Whether you are an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher, there are temptations and pitfalls at every turn. There are fiery darts coming your way. It can be difficult to know whom to trust. But that doesn’t mean you need to get stupid.
So if you are a minister, or if you aspire to be one, please decide now not to do the 10 stupid things Lee mentioned. And for good measure, please decide now not to do the 10 more stupid things I’ve outlined below that, unfortunately, have also become common in our movement during the past decade.
1. Abuse the sheep.
Always remember that church staff—and church volunteers—are serving God, not you. Spiritual abuse is a dirty little secret in the charismatic church that is seldom exposed because it would topple small and large man-made empires alike.
If you aren’t willing to be the servant of all—if you think the sheep are there to serve you—please hang up your ministry aspirations before you hurt someone. We don’t need more spiritual abusers in the pulpit.
2. Water down the gospel.
If you aren’t going to preach the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth—so help you God!—please don’t preach. Although there are many effective preaching styles, if you aren’t bold enough to preach the whole gospel—even the parts people don’t want to hear—then pray for boldness until you are.
3. Refuse to release people into ministry.
God’s people don’t belong to you. You aren’t the one who called them, Jesus did. You aren’t the one who anointed them, the Holy Spirit did. If you feel threatened at the notion of your worship leader moving on—or your members attending a conference at another local church—your insecurities are perverting your leadership. Equip people for the work of the ministry and then let them fulfill their calling no matter where God leads them without cursing them on their way out the door.
4. Focus on gimmicks and programs rather than people.
Seeker-friendly churches bring in bubble machines to attract the kids and A-to-Z programs to attract the adults. When the focus is on glitz, glare, glamour and gimmicks rather than meeting the true needs of people in the community, church can quickly become more like a Christian Club Med (or even a circus) than an expression of the kingdom of God. And that’s just dumb.